Tougher than hell

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Spring is here (fingers crossed) in our lake community. Strangers are giving each other that knowing look. Almost a silent high five of having made it through another North Idaho winter.

We all know the way we survive the four-to-five month long season: Each year we tell ourselves that at the first sign of warmer temps, spring is just around the corner. And every year, on cue, another heavy snowfall or two or three will come, and we will act surprised, and a little offended that Mother Nature does not bend to our will.

There is something about this survivalist mentality that makes us a little stronger and more resilient than our friends in other parts of the nation.

But are we really?

This winter hit me hard. Snow I can deal with. Even the bitterly cold temperatures. Hey, great reason to buy another gorgeous down coat and pair of Uggs, right? But when my emotional strength is tested, that’s when I want to tap out.

It always happens in threes for me. A long time friend once referred to it as “the sucker punch.” He said, “You’re pretty tough with the left and right hook, Raydeane, but it’s that final sucker punch that gets you” (Love your analogies, Bob MacGregor).

The left and right hook came through a couple of intense confrontations with what I perceived to be unrealistic expectations. How can I be confident that the expectations were unrealistic? Any time a person is asked to change their beliefs or core values to accommodate a particular situation, any time a finger is pointed or blame given without just cause, are indicators of unrealistic expectations. Another signal would be when, no matter what you do or say, you cannot win with someone. I am fascinated by the process that leads to unrealistic expectations. It appears to be used as a form of bullying, manipulation or control mechanism.

Even when the conclusion is drawn you are not responsible for a “heavy” someone is attempting to put on you, it still impacts you. It still weighs on you. It still hurts.

So, I was on the road to repair and recovery from the left and right hook when the sucker punch came. Sucker punches are the most painful because “they hit below the belt.” They are grossly unfair and even illegal (at least in the boxing arena). The sucker punch came in the form of personal heartbreak in my family.

That was it. TKO. I’m done. Everything froze. Nothing seemed important anymore. My world got really small, really quick. Severe circumstances are enlightening. The True You emerges whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. And so my precious little family unit, we gathered, we held each other, we cried, we talked, we were silent… we were together.

What I thought would take me out turned into a beautiful few days of deep love, rich conversation, sincere comfort and sweet gratefulness. It was a point of reference of what really matters. These times are important in all of our lives. They strengthen us from the inside out. They re-adjust our perspective. They realign our priorities and honestly. They make us tougher than hell.

“The way of life winds upward for the wise;

they turn away from hell below.”

Proverbs 15:24

My hope is that this article finds you encouraged, renewed and expectant for the days ahead.

Blessings & love,


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